Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Kids & Family Reading Report™: 6th Edition :: Scholastic

The Kids & Family Reading Report™: 6th Edition
shares new data on reading aloud, inequities in access to books, diversity in children's books and more.
Scholastic: 1.31.2017 by Alexandra Wladich

Kids & Family Reading Report™, Scholastic’s biannual study of children’s and parents’ attitudes and behaviors around reading. In the decade since, much has changed in the research on reading aloud starting at birth, discussions around access to books and diversity in children’s books, and efforts to promote summer reading. Yet despite knowing that all families want their children to succeed, not all realize that books and reading both improve children’s academic skills and critical thinking abilities, as well as help children develop empathy and compassion.

Among the most positive findings we see the impact of the recent movement to encourage families to begin reading aloud to their children at birth and to keep going as their children get older. Previously, we found 30% of parents with children ages 0–5 reported reading to their child before three months old. Today, 40% of parents do. The percentage of families reading aloud to young children 5–7 days a week has also increased among families with kids ages 3–5 (55% to 62%), yet we still find many parents read less often to children older than 5, with another steep drop-off occurring at age 8.

While starting to read aloud early matters, we know that having books at home also makes a difference in kids’ reading lives. The report verifies that the homes of frequent readers have far more children’s books than the homes of infrequent readers, and a similar disparity exists in low-income homes and the homes of African American and Hispanic families. This is a strong call to action to ensure we are all working hard to get books into the hands of every child.

We also wanted to better understand what diversity in children’s books means to parents, as well as what types of characters kids and parents look for in kids’ books. Parents shared with us that when they consider the meaning of diversity in books for children and teens, they believe these books include “people and experiences different than those of my child” (73%), “various cultures, customs or religions” (68%), “differently-abled people” (51%), “people of color” (47%), and “LGBTQ people” (21%). We also found about one in 10 kids look for characters who are differently abled (13%), are culturally or ethnically diverse (11%), and who break stereotypes (11%). Hispanic and African-American families express more interest in diverse books than non-Hispanic and non-African American families.

The key findings of this research, based on a nationally representative sample of 2,718 parents and children, including 632 parents of children ages 0–5; 1,043 parents of children ages 6–17; plus one child age  6–17 from the same 
household, are as follows:

WHAT KIDS & PARENTS WANT IN CHILDREN’S BOOKS
The average home with children ages 0–17 reports having 104 children’s books, however, there are large disparities in the number of books for kids in the home when considering kids’ reading frequency and household income:

> Children who are frequent readers have 141 children’s books in their homes vs. 65 books for kids among infrequent readers’ homes.

> Households with income less than $35K  only have an average of 69 children’s books  vs. 127 books for kids in households with income more than $100K.  READ MORE @

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